Coronavirus Illinois: Businesses worry they won't survive extended stay-at-home order

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Even with federal and local aid, the extension of Illinois' stay-at-home order has many businesses even more worried about their long-term survival.

FULL VIDEO: Gov. JB Pritzker extends stay-at-home order

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Gov. JB Pritzker extends Illinois' stay-at-home order during his COVID-19 press briefing on April 23,2020.

Another month indoors means another month out of work for esthetician Rae Hopkins. And another month, at least, without a proper paycheck.

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"Luckily with the stimulus it's a decent amount of money that keeps me afloat but there's no gratuity on top of that," Hopkins said. "It's not the same income I'm bringing in on a day to day."

Businesses like salons shuttered suddenly, seemingly overnight.

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Gov. JB Pritzker said lifting the stay-at-home order completely right now could risk a deadly second wave of COVID-19 infections.

"I just checked the calendar," Hopkins said. "It was Saturday, March 14th, is the last day I was at work."

Then some people had little expectation temporary unemployment would stretch into summer, though that's slowly become the frustrating reality.

Re-opening in a pandemic is also unnerving.

"If you think about the volume of people I normally take, in order to socially distance, I probably cannot take that many people," she said.

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Long-planned spring weddings are off the calendar as well, forcing freelance photographers to get even more creative.

"I have been doing things like print sales, just getting clients to print all their photos," said Alisha Tova, a freelance photographer.

She's overwhelmed that unemployment services haven't proven fruitful yet.

"Unemployment benefits and small business loans have not been so generous to people like myself who are sole proprietors," Tova explained. "I think it really is important to stay positive through this. I do believe that positivity is contagious."

And there are signs of hope. Some shops, like garden stores, can begin to turn the closed signs, and reopen with social distancing.

When places like salons and restaurants do reopen, it's likely they'll also have to follow social distancing guidelines meaning fewer customers and ultimately, less income.
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